A non-modernized digital business is an oxymoron. In a climate rife with disruptions and innovations, organizations are moving at a pace that needs to put their Modernization imperative into perspective. Digital Transformation thrives on the modernization paradigm for a robust architectural roadmap. Business models and IT architectures are evolving in tandem; to build and sustain the digital ecosystem. McKinsey cited in its report that outdated IT systems are often the biggest Achilles’ heel for established companies to successfully compete and they would need an IT architecture that is ‘modular, simple, customer-centric and configurable’ to enjoy the same cost and performance benefits.

Customers would be most impacted through their cumulative journeys, not just individual touch points. While CX deals with the influence on a customer with any part of the organization, Digital CX deals with the Digital touchpoints that seek to influence a customer’s experience. In this age, digital CX plays into every aspect of your lives- deeply questioning your brand to build value in every channel for a holistic interaction. An underlying attribute of better Digital CX is improved operations. According to NASSCOM, digital transformation is the number one way for organizations to achieve operational efficiency. It stands to reason that if business transformation through operations doesn’t happen first, customer facing-initiatives would not see the light of day!

Better operations would only come about through architecture modernization.  Building modern software is the first step in realizing this.

Architecting your Modern Software

Your Digital CX narrative needs a multi-dimensional approach to software modernization. This would result in the creation of truly modern software with attributes like:

  • Scalability and Availability
  • Adaptive/Self-Learning Ability
  • Resilient/Highly secure software infrastructure
  • Performance
  • Technology-Agnostic Behaviour
  • Reusability

Before charting your Modernization roadmap that identifies your end-goal, you would do well to understand your current state and direction through an Architecture Consulting exercise to identify potential gaps. Modernizing software can be a rewarding experience if you know what’s in store for you. One must avoid the common mistakes of underestimation of efforts, time and resources throughout the modernization journey.

Key factors while considering a modernization drive would include:

  • Customer Expectations
  • Security
  • Continuity and Future Readiness
  • Cost
  • User Experience

Architecture Modernization Trends

As Digitalization aims at maximizing business value, rational IT modernization is the need of the hour. Technology would always be central to your digital strategy. Leaving behind a legacy, quite literally is the path to digital excellence.

IDC estimates that at any point of time, enterprises are actively evolving only 25% of their applications. With data gravity moving to the cloud, application platforms are taking to the cloud to deliver the flexibility and scalability that organizations desire. Subscription-based models are emerging as newer consumption patterns lead to a more defined revenue pattern. SaaS is on a growth trajectory to meet an inflexion point as more organizations are taking to this model. Core CRM systems are also moving to the cloud. Hybrid models of on-premise and cloud is also on the rise when the network and data-center infrastructure is constrained. Mobile apps built with hybrid architectures would balance portability with native features to manage criticality.

According to Deloitte, application modernization can reduce costs up to 94% and hence it is among the top 5 priorities for organizations. Applications are gaining autonomy with the three building blocks- Containers, APIs and Flexible Cloud Infrastructure. Application modernization would involve redesigned, repurposed applications with best-in-class tools and technologies to become containerized or service-oriented. Microservices as an architecture pattern is gaining prominence. Next-generation cloud native apps would be built with superior application design to accommodate the new microservices architecture. Tools that are focused on Continuous Integration/ Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) and DevOps will fortify the Microservices ecosystem.

This would deconstruct the monolithic application into independent functional components, reducing the integration overhead. Gartner predicts that worldwide IT spending will reach $4 trillion in 2021 and it is clear that a majority of application purchases supporting digital businesses will be ‘build’, not ‘buy’.

Light-weight infrastructure would be the key differentiator to augment agility within your enterprise. 

With a light-weight infrastructure, orchestrating data flows would be more seamless. Leading-edge hybrid integration platforms are evolving as organizations are looking to optimize the data that the Nexus of Forces brings. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will include advanced analytics to improve business decision making.

Complexities can, however, arise with the data explosion from IoT and the device mesh.

With the expanding device mesh defined as end points people use to access information and applications for interaction with a large number of stakeholders, enterprise architects must ensure that security is not compromised. For this, an adaptive security architecture that mitigates risk must be built. Gartner in 2021 has predicted that spending on Enterprise information security and risk management will grow 9.5%.

Advanced machine learning and deep neural nets (DNNs) have created smart machines that can perceive the world autonomously. Competitive advantage could be built by applying such technologies for more intelligent insights. As smart machines and the digital mesh rule the world, it would call for ultra-efficient neuromorphic architectures to proliferate into the tiniest IoT endpoints.

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